July Student Spotlight: Zach Kimmel

Name: Zach Kimmel
School: University of Houston
Year: 2010

What made you want to study design?
I’ve always been sort of a doodler. And a word guy. I love language; hitting upon that perfect word or phrase has always been a source of comfort and satisfaction for me.

I should mention I also really like helping people, and for me, design is one of the most unique and important ways of helping people that I’ve been able to think of, and, lucky me, I get to doodle and think about words when I do it.

What was the best and worst {I just want to forget that happened} experience of being in school?
My favorite awful experience: Toward the end of last semester, I’d been up working on projects for thirty-something hours, the last eighteen hours of which without eating anything at all. Sometime after I’d realized I’d gone so long without food, I got it in my head that breakfast would be beyond awesome—that an egg-based breakfast would be like a reward for a long day and night of solid work. But the only thing within striking distance was a McDonald’s. (Maybe you can see where this is going.) I told myself it would be fine, eggs are eggs, after all. However, it was not fine. What transpires on McDonald’s breakfast menu is a travesty, a crime against breakfast. I don’t know, maybe it was just that one location or something, but the point is, after looking forward to it for so long, after enduring the hunger pangs, that awful breakfast just… it made a bad day so, so much worse.

My favorite awesome experience not nearly as dramatic: there was one particular project—an informational poster—that just came together really well after a lot of difficult and often tedious work. Math was involved, if you can believe that—but it turned out to be a pretty nice piece in the end. I don’t think I could ask for a whole lot more than that, really, as a student or as a professional.

When you aren’t at school, what are you doing?
I’m either reading or doing music stuff—I’ve taken to re-composing movie themes in Garage Band. My latest is the Terminator theme song. I still design little things here and there for myself and, when I have time, I like to berate myself for not doing more of this.

How long have you been an AIGA Houston member & what do you get out of being an AIGA member?
I’ve been an AIGA member since 2008. It’s allowed me to meet people and go places that I wouldn’t have had a clue about otherwise. Aside from the Make/Think Conference last October, which was amazing, the greatest thing that the Houston chapter has done for me and students like me is to organize the Studio Tour series the last two Spring semesters. It has really helped to put things into context and it has been so great to meet and speak with the professionals that volunteered their time for us. And, I should say, it makes a big difference, going into a portfolio review or interview, if you’ve met the person you’ll be speaking to even just once.

What are you top 5 design website visited?


How would you sum yourself up as a designer in 5 words?
excitable, inquisitive, harmonious, distinct, (highly) employable.

What is your dream job?
I dream of designing lots of different things for lots of different people; in my dream, I have lots of time to explore all kinds of options, and clients and coworkers alike love discussing my ideas, even if they don’t altogether agree with them, and by the end of the dream everyone is happy and proud to be associated with the work, and the client and design firm both make lots and lots of money. Also, I can fly.

Where can we find you?
my work is up at www.zkimmel.com
and I blog, very occasionally, at

By Norma Riehle
Published July 22, 2010
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